Goal Prep Wrap-up

We are approaching the end of this years look at goal setting and prepping for the new year.  If you have not done so, take a minute and read part I and part II of this series.  After reading and putting the steps into practice, you should have a nice new goals journal with a few pages filled and a refined set of goals for the near, long and in between terms.  There really is only one step left before you go out and actually attack those goals.

Make a plan for success for each goal

Of all the steps this will be the most critical for you to actually achieve your goals.  Look at each of the goals that you have and put down the actionable steps that you need to be successful.  For some of the goals, it might be as simple as going to a website and filling out a form or putting a note up on Social Media about what you are looking for.  Other goals will have several larger steps that need to be broken down.

What I am saying is nothing new, and most people just need to hear it again or be reminded.  The trick that I would add to the equation is to add in steps for if you fail at some point.  Decide what you are going to do or how you are going to handle rough spots now.  If one of your goals is to clean up your diet, how are you going to build in points to diverge?  How are you going to handle ice cream movie nights?  Build in a plan, that allows you freedom to stumble, so that you do not feel that you have failed.

A simple but effective example that I have seen, using diet as an example, is that there are no rules on special occasions.  If invited and attending a wedding or other special event, those are the nights that you can enjoy whatever you want.  Sorry, but a simple date night, usually does not count.  But having a plan sets you up for more success that just trying to will your way to victory.

So there you have it, the beginning of your goal journal has some writing on it is started.  Now you have all the pages left in the journal for your journey.  Use those pages for whatever you want to as you travel down your path.  Write about your successes and your struggles.  Track your progress, write what inspires you.  Share with yourself what works for you and what doesn’t.  No matter how many of the goals you cross off the list you started with, you will learn about yourself and that will set you up for success for far longer than just one year!

Keep On Progressing…Goals Refinement!

So here we are…back again!  Refining our goal setting and goal keeping process.  In the last post, I asked you to do some very basic (not easy) things:

  • Buy a new Journal
  • Figure out how you tick (what do you need to make successful habits)
  • Write out your goals
  • Break them down into three categories (short-term, medium-term, long-term)

So what do we do now?  I have the goals, I just start working really hard to keep them, right?

Nope.

I want you to look at those goals that you have and the breakdown is not important right this instant, but it does give you a rough deadline for completion and if you are like me, that is important.  The deadline is important.

The next thing that I want you to do is to begin to utilize the other pages in your new journal and look at your list and figure out the “why” behind each and every goal that you have.  What you are doing is taking a minute to decide what is motivating you to want that goal to happen.  Are you really even doing it for yourself, or do you just think someone else will be happy if you do it?

As you work through your list, you want your goals to have personal value.  If something is written down, just for the sake of writing down or it sounds good to have it on the list, but it means nothing to you, failure is the most likely outcome.  You have to make sure that the goal actually adds meaning to your life.

A common goal is to work out more.  Gyms love the start of the new year, but they cannot make you show up.  Why do you want to work out more?  Maybe you want to play more with your kids, your grandkids, take your dog on more walks, look better in a swimsuit, make the neighbors jealous.  I don’t know your answer, but you need to have a reason.

If you cannot come up with a SOLID why for a goal, remove it from your list.  If your goal is only on there because someone else wants it for you or from you, remove it.  The goal must carry some value to you.

If your only motivation for working out more is because my husband or wife wants me to or thinks I should or it sounds good…mark it off.  Get rid of it.  You don’t really want it.

This is a difficult step and a challenge because it means the list might change.  You have to be real with yourself.  Do not search for reasons…follow your gut on this one and shoot from the hip.  If you do not feel a reason hit you quick…delete the item.  You can always re-add it later…when it has more value.

So that’s all I got today…figure out the why!

Turn the page and start figuring it out!

 

Start with a Clean Slate…Goals in the New Year

I write something about goals every year.  Like most people, I see the start of the new year as one of those rare chances to have a clean slate.  That is to say, when the year ticks over to read 2016, I can safely say…

I haven’t messed up this year

And it’s not a lie.  It is not a false statement but rather a challenge to see how long I can maintain that status.  I have learned over the past year one big thing, and that is, that in order to have a strong and successful 2016, I need to prepare for it starting now.  I actually need to start cleaning the slate now.

So how are you going to get prepared for the changes that you want to make in the new year?

First and foremost, I recommend that you go out and buy a journal that is devoted specifically to your goals and the process you are taking to achieve them.  In fact, I recommend you buy a nice journal for this purpose, think of it as investing in your own success.

New journal = New Opportunities.

The second thing that I will recommend is to take a little time getting to know how you tick.  What motivates you, what leads you on a path to success and what doesn’t?  If you are someone like me, then you are going to need to figure out how to build accountability into your goals.  Based on the work of Gretchen Rubin, I am probably a pretty solid “Obliger”.  That simply means that I am more likely to succeed when someone else is counting on me.  I work best with deadlines and clear expectations. If you want to know more about her Four Tendencies, take the quiz or buy the book. (I bought the book on iTunes and listened to it.)

For example, knowing that I am an Obliger, I now post my workouts to my followers in the morning with a statement that I will post my results after I complete it.  I have created a system when I am accountable to them.  If I did not do this, I probably would not work out or I am more prone to allow someone else’s problem cause me to push back my workout.  You can get this same accountability simply by joining a gym with a friend and committing to meet there at the same time.

The biggest thing though is to start taking a little time to know what will most likely make you successful.  Once you know a little bit about how you tick and how you react in situations, you can move into the next phase of breaking the goals down.

I recommend that you take the time to break your goals down into short term, medium term and long term goals. It is a simple method to measure success and accept that changes and accept that success does not happen overnight.  That is a really good start to your goal writing process.  There are several more steps that I recommend, but I will save those until tomorrow.  For now…take the time to:

  • Buy a new Journal
  • Figure out how you tick (what do you need to make successful habits)
  • Write out your goals
  • Break them down into three categories (short-term, medium-term, long-term)

And if you need help…ask!

When Letting Go is Good…Business Basic

It has been a while since I wrote something that is 100% solely focused on running a business.  This tidbit of advice is like many things, powerful, simple but not easy.  It is my attempt to pull in the advice of several of my mentors, Zach Even-Esh, Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Bob Burg and John David Mann.  

This piece of advice is simple.

If you want to succeed you have to help people find the right product, even if it is not yours!

The first part of that is pretty straight forward.  And most people would stand up and say…I do that.  I help people find the right product.  Most people chase customers and try to find new and creative ways to get them into their doors.  But most of us tend to live in the delusion that our product is the best and that it meets the needs of all people.  That if we can “sell” them on us, then we are good to go.  We live in the world that a sale is a sale is a sale and we need lots of sales.  But do we really?

All of the people listed above will talk about things such as finding your niche, finding your tribe, building your brand and identity, and providing more value to your customers experience and they all fit together into a nice, neat package that includes being willing to direct your customer to someone else.

Why would anyone say no to a sale?

That is the ultimate question, right?  We all have bills to pay, employees to pay and lights to keep on.  Why in the world would I want to turn someone away?  The answer is that by simply selling to them, you are not selling your true product and they are not getting what they are looking for.  As Seth Godin would say, you are trying to pull someone from another tribe into yours.  This will not end well for you.

If you promise a product that does X, Y, and Z and cannot deliver, guess what your reviews will look like?  What do you think that customer is going to tell their friends about your product or services?  How many people will you lose because you tried to fit that square peg into your round hole?

And from the other angle?

Let’s say you direct that customer to a product that is exactly what they are looking for, how are you viewed?  If you asked that customer for a simple review, don’t you think that they would give you glowing praise because you cared?  What do you think happens when their friends ask them about your business?

Their response, hopefully, transitions from one of, “they told me they did this; but lied” to one of “they were honest with me that their product wasn’t the best for my needs, but cared enough to help me out.  They might be a good fit for you.”  You are still getting positive feedback in spite of not making a sale.  The image and perception of your business is one of caring and not one of making the sell at any cost.

It is hard, though.  It is hard to not get caught up in the quest to make the sell because we all see the looming bills and challenges, but I challenge you to make sure you are growing your tribe the right way.  I encourage you to be willing to say no and help people find the best product for their needs.  I encourage you not to change your standards in order to make a sell.

Care about the customer and sometimes, that means letting the sale go.

#WatchThis

I am a fan of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and goal setting.  I have recently been taking the time to teach the 7 Habits informally to some friends and am willing to do it to anyone that is interested in it.  One of the habits that they talk about is defining a personal mission statement.  As I was discussing this with my group, one of them put me on the spot and asked if I would share mine.

Out of a knee-jerk, quick-witted response, I said:

Watch This!

That was it.  Two words, but then I stepped back and realized that it was actually a fairly, short, sweet, honest and true statement.  For me, that is my personal mission statement for the upcoming year.  It will be simple and follow me around.  #WatchThis.

It is not a statement out of arrogance, but rather one that says, I am not afraid to put my life out there for others to see and ultimately to judge.  I am going to be me, and I am going to welcome people into my life and let them see it.

I am a person that responds to accountability to others and tends to put personal wants on a backburner, so I am creating accountability.  I am taking everyone on this journey and holding myself accountable to al of you.

Watch this means, that I am not going to hide who I am or be afraid to develop things that are 100% me.  I am not going to make someone else’s dream happen while mine sit on the back burner.  I am going to do both!  I am going to help others and myself.  It is time to take that step.

Write a book…#watchThis

Start a business…#watchThis

Complete the Spartan Trifecta…#watchThis

Get Stronger….#WatchThis

Eat Better…#WatchThis

Share my Struggles…#WatchThis

That journey is about to begin…all you have to do is sit back and #WatchThis

yoda...there is no try

You Just Don’t Know…Until You Do!

I have worked with hundreds of athletes.  I have watched tens of thousands of lifts, successful and unsuccessful.  I have helped people trudge through their personal struggles and fears and have loved every minute of it.

I have watched as people have stared at me with that look in their eyes, telling me that they are going to fail and they are right.  They fail because they have told themselves that they will.  They do not believe that they can accomplish the lift, the task, or conquer the problem.

They look at it and say that it is just too much.

And I ask them, constantly, why are you afraid?

“Because I might fail.”

And there is that word.  That word that I am growing to hate more and more each day…might.  Might is five-letter word that defeats all of us far too often.

I might fail…but I might not.

And so we accept it.  We accept the failing, we accept the missed lift, the lost opportunity and the not so perfect day…all because of what might have happened.

Cue the Yoda memes and the Batman slapping Robin meme backup.  Might is not a result.  For my fellow Yoda fans, try is not a result.

I tried…is a cop out.  If you say you tried, you are probably really saying, I didn’t succeed.  The bigger question is not about success and failure, but did you stop?  Did you learn?  Did you grow?  Are you willing to fail again?  Is failure what is really holding you back?

What if success really has that grip of terror on you?  What if when I asked why are you afraid you answered me honestly…Because I might succeed.  Then the expectations go up.  Then people want to see me do it again.  If I get a PR, then the next time, I better at least match it.  I got a pull-up, a muscle-up, a handstand walk for 30 feet, a best selling book, a platinum record, start and sell a multi-million dollar company…and what happens that next time you try?

Will people expect more of you?  Want to see you fall from grace?  Will you let it get to you?  Will you get out of your own head and give yourself the right to succeed again?

So I ask again, “Why are you afraid?”

You’ll never know until you…do!

It’s Not Always Them…Sometimes It’s Your Fault

Is it the barbell’s fault?  Is it the barbell’s fault that you cannot lift it?  I am being serious, who is to blame for the simple fact that there are some loads that you or I cannot lift.  Is it the barbells fault that it is heavy, annoying, frustrating?

We don’t blame the barbell for being heavy, we don’t blame the barbell for failing to lift it…it is what it is.  It is a bar with some weights on it.  We have a choice when it comes to adjusting those weights, but we cannot change what it is at its core.  It will always be the same.  And for most of us, we will always like it heavy and challenging.

But the people in our lives do not get that same consideration.  The people in our lives are just that, people.  More than likely they will not change over time, but somehow we allow them to cause frustration and chaos in our lives.  Maybe, just maybe the problem is within us.  Maybe we should know ourselves a little bit better.  (***DISCLAIMER – some people are jerks…cut those people out of your life and move on…back to the lesson)

hardest battle

I learned this the hard way this week.  I was sitting in my office working on a project…focused…charging along…breaking through barriers and making progress.  Then it happened.  That magical moment when my phone starting blowing up. Texts, phone calls, emails, messages…everythhing.  And every person that was trying to get a hold of me, I felt myself getting angry with.  I wanted to scream…you know I am at work…can’t you just save this for a time you know I am free and not working.  Don’t you know that I work too…just because you finally have time to ask these questions…you want me to drop everything and respond.  *DANGER* *DANGER* *DANGER*

Then I started driving home…angry, upset, day ruined!  But then I took a couple deep breathes and looked inward for a moment and replayed that moment in my day.  I realized one simple truth.  I am not a multi-tasker and in fact multi-taskers can annoy me (because I am not one and it is not my style).  I am a focus on one task, complete it, then move on and those interruptions pulled me from that.  The person calling, texting, messaging did not intentionally interrupt me (and if they did…well, I will give you the benefit of the doubt).  They were not trying to upset me with the questions and requests.

We all need to take these moments in life and look and answer the question “who am I?” We have to be able to answer about what makes us tick and who are we really.  We all get frustrated when others try and change us, but we expect people to change for us.  If we step back and accept who we are and how we operate then we can make the allowances and changes that we need to in our own lives to be successful and have healthy relationships.

Just like we cannot change the barbell, we cannot change people.  BUT we all control the effort we put into bettering ourselves.  We can train to get stronger, leaner, smarter, better writers, better readers, better artists, have better relationships and someday we will move that barbell.  Why?  Because we changed and became the person that we needed to be in order to succeed…not because the barbell changed!

The Problem With Titles…

Or Why Managers Aren’t Leaders!

I recently spent six weeks going through a program that was devoted to being a leader and developing leadership strategies.  The goal was to teach each of us that were participating that we are, in fact, leaders.  The goal was to help us all see that we have roadblocks in our minds that keep us from accepting the truth that by simply showing up and accepting our nomination to this program we are indeed leaders.  We simply have to get out of our own way and accept it.

It has been a few weeks and I have slowly been processing my way through all the information that was taken in.  I have been weeding through the parts that resonate with me and fighting with those parts that do not.  Today, I want to share with you a small piece that I have learned.  In order to follow me down this particular rabbit hole, you will have to accept the following statement:

Leadership is a quality that can be developed and job titles (aka management) are simply places on an org chart.

For most that is not a hard thing to accept, but many people also have an expectation that managers are leaders.  Until we have to work for them.  Until we are their employees.  Then we discover that they are not leaders, but merely someone holding a title that is above you.  In the best case scenario, you find that your manager is, in fact, a leader.  How does one find this unicorn?  What qualities does this mythical manager possess?

While, I think that there are several small pieces that play into the answer to that question, the biggest piece, in my opinion, is that leaders pay absolutely no attention to their title or the titles of others.  And here is a little exercise to hammer that point home.

As part of my time at this particular leadership training, we spent a day out at a ropes challenge course.  It was our second week of training and so we really did not know a whole lot about the people we were there with, outside of what we could remember from the week before.  No one had distinguished themselves as being a “big cheese” or of higher stature than anyone else.  The president of our company was not walking amongst us and my boss was not in attendance.  We were simply people there to learn about being better leaders.

Throughout the day, we were presented with different challenges to solve.  Some were physical in nature, others were mental.  We solved them one by one and progressed through the day.  All the while never once looking to someone to manage the situation.  We never stopped and said, “Who is going to be the boss on this problem?”  We simply all looked at the problem, presented solution and LISTENED to each other.  Where we sat on an org chart was irrelevant.  What our salary was, mattered nothing.  Our team did not have a hierarchy and so we were able to speak to one another as equals.

So how do you and your team solve problems?  Do you solve them like that?  Or do they look more like what happened once I returned to life in the “real” office?  Something like this.

There is a problem, we hold a meeting with everyone sitting around a table.  The problem is thrown out onto the table and one of the following situations plays out:

  • Option A – The “boss” asks for feedback and most people are too afraid to speak up.  If someone does speak up, the idea is shot down for whatever reason or maybe it is heard out, but there is little support because the “boss” did not give his or her stamp of approval.  The person brave enough to speak feels left out there dangling and contemplates not speaking up again.
  • Option B – The “boss” simply tells everyone how they are going to solve it and what each person is going to do.  No one bothers to think or correct him or her as they know that everything they say will simply be shot down and the “boss” is going to get his or her way.  End of discussion.

Those are the most common situations that seem to come up unless you have that unicorn of a supervisor or manager or team leader.

So what gives?  What makes solving challenges out at the ropes course happen so effortlessly and then the problems back in the office so impossible.

It is the notion or belief that org chart hierarchy is the same as increased knowledge and leadership ability.  There is a notion that as you move up the org chart, you gain and possess all the knowledge of those beneath you and that is a myth.  The title and position give you nothing and that is why, as I digest all the information from my training, it is my hope to not concern myself with titles and concern myself with inputs.

I need the inputs of all those parties involved and all parties affected by the problem we are trying to address.  The best thing that could happen in your job is the removal of this idea that someone is the boss and an acceptance that we are all part of a team.  Then the leader will make sure that the team will stay on task, focused, and working towards a goal, but not be set in their ways on a path to that goal.  They just keep the goal in focus.

What’s Next ?!?!

Group Photo

Now that the turkey hangovers are done and life is getting back to normal for most people or the chaos of the holiday season is starting to roll in, I am already thinking about what is up next for the Barbell Poet.

My initial answer is to simply say…I have no idea!

That is not a bad thing, just an unknown.  I can say that over the next 31 days as we head into a new year, I will continue to get better and develop myself.  I will spend the time focusing on my training, my nutrition, my goals and starting on a path of personal growth in the new year.

A couple weeks ago, I stepped down from my position in order to do the very things listed above.  I stepped down to get better personally and get better as a coach.  And that is where I will start.  I have given myself the month of December as a minimum to start coming up with the goals for the new year…what will those goals look like.

As of right now, they start with the following:

  • Write a Book (It doesn’t have to be published, just written)
  • Take the GRE and consider getting a Masters (have to look at the financials on that one)
  • Update THIS website
  • Develop a solid habit of training consistently
  • Clean up the nutrition
  • Develop my own training philosophy by studying people that I admire
  • Helping my kids with their homework
  • Helping my kids use their imagination
  • Surprising my wife every now and then (fewer hurried and rushed date nights)
  • Learn about and put together a solid business philosophy that I can be proud of and that represents me
  • Enjoy the beauty of small blessings
  • Be better!

That is where I will start.  Does it mean that I will never coach at my old gym again?  Not necessarily.  Does it mean that I will stay in my current situation?  Not necessarily.  It means that for the first time in a long time, I am open to change.

I am excited about the future and what might be coming my way.  I am excited to attack life again and focus on being better everyday…even if it is just a little bit!